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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

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Authors & publishers:
I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Murray, Paul: An Evening of Long Goodbyes | Main | Donnelly, Deborah: May the Best Man Die »

McNicholl, Damian: A Son Called Gabriel

  

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CDS Books © 2004, 343 pages [amazon]
5 stars

Gabriel Harkin is growing up in the 1960s and '70s in a working-class Catholic family. Northern Ireland at the time is riven by political and religious differences, and the Troubles form a backdrop to Gabriel's childhood and adolescence. But the more immediate cause of Gabriel's unhappiness during these years is his homosexuality. Bullied for his effeminacy, tormented by guilt when he gives way to what the Church tells him are sinful urges, Gabriel worries too that he is a disappointment to his father, who appears to favor Gabriel's athletic and mechanically-inclined brother James. Gabriel cannot confess his desires, not even to his beloved uncle, Father Brendan, but he does come to realize that his sexual proclivity is not the only secret being harbored in the Harkin family: some disgrace which his parents refuse to discuss evidently lies behind Brendan's entrance into the priesthood.

It is so well written, and the author's portrayal of Gabriel is so vivid, that readers will be hard-pressed to remember they're holding a piece of fiction in their hands. Damian McNicholl's A Son Called Gabriel is written in the first person and reads like a memoir. As such it will inevitably be compared to Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Remarkably, McNicholl's novel does not suffer from the comparison. It is so well written, and the author's portrayal of Gabriel is so vivid, that readers will be hard-pressed to remember they're holding a piece of fiction in their hands. A Son Called Gabriel creates a fully realistic community--Gabriel's parents and siblings and extended family of aunts and uncles and grandparents, the boys who taunt or befriend him at school--and a likable main character with whom readers cannot but sympathize as they watch him grow to manhood. It is a perfect novel. And, quiet story though it is, the book packs a wallop in its final pages when the secret of Brendan's retreat into the clergy is finally revealed.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.